Based in Somerset House, Spring is the new restaurant from chef and owner Skye Gyngell who used to run Petersham Nurseries. As you might expect from a dining room residing in such a grand building, it’s a very pretty space. It was all very tranquil with soft lighting, plenty of pink everywhere and handsome waiters dressed as sailors; I felt like I was in a Jean Paul Gaultier advert.
Food on the whole was hearty and unpretentious with a rustic style of presentation. To start, the vitello tonnato (£13) which was a blend of cold veal with a mayo-like tuna sauce (sounds an odd combination but it works brilliantly) and the tagliolini with lemon sage and cremé fraiche (£11.50) were both really enjoyable. The latter was a pasta dish I would gladly eat all night long.
For main, the guinea fowl with celery, carrots, farrow (a type of pulse similar to pearl barley) and parsley sauce (£27) was particularly impressive because the bird was so well cooked. Whenever I’ve had guinea fowl in the past there’s always been a small part of it that’s a tad dry but not here – every inch of the meat was insanely moist with a crisp, well seasoned skin. Utterly divine.
With the slow cooked pork shoulder (£26) I’ve never had meat quite like it; the quality was simply sublime. It was served atop a mound of polenta and girolles which had the potential to be a plate of ploppy slop yet it was far from it and the flavours were spot on.
For dessert, the meringue, miyagawa sorbet (bless you), candied ginger and Jersey cream (£8) was one of the tastiest things I’ve eaten in yonks. The pressed chocolate and hazelnut cake (£8) was certainly nutty but a touch on the dry side. The prune and Armagnac tart with crème fraiche ice cream (£8) was a boozy little number which seriously satisfied my sweet craving.
My only gripe with our meal was with our dashing sommelier who when asked to recommend a glass of red, suggested the most expensive at £17 which was (and always is) a little cheeky in my book.
Spring isn’t the sort of place you’re ever going to have a bargain basement kind of meal but for the portion sizes and quality of both the ingredients and cooking, I thought it was well worth it. I left feeling full, well looked after and thoroughly satisfied.